Monthly Archives: March 2023

More Reading Fodder

At long last, I’ve updated my “recommended readings” list for those who want to learn more about writing through reading. The occasion was grand—a conversation with scholars at the University of British Columbia about lively academic writing—and I’m pleased to share the list. As always, my choices are arbitrary and capricious, just a smattering of good reads for those who enjoy nonfiction. I haven’t, however, taken the time to write any descriptions, so I fear you’ll have to read them and find out!

Bonus: A few handy references for the writerly minded out there! For the book list, skip down a few lines.

Reference Books to Keep Close at Hand:

  • Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus
  • Choose the Right Word, S. I. Hayakawa
  • Writing for Social Scientists, Howard S. Becker
  • On Revision, William Germano
  • Stylish Academic Writing, Helen Sword

Books for Readers and Writers:

  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life, Bill Bryson
  • Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media, Susan J. Douglas
  • The Library Book, Susan Orlean
  • The Monk of Mokha, Dave Eggers
  • Angels and Ages: Lincoln, Darwin, and the Birth of the Modern Age, Adam Gopnik
  • Thunderstruck, Erik Larson
  • The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
  • Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter
  • The City of Falling Angels, John Berendt
  • How to Be Danish: A Journey to the Heart of Denmark, Patrick Kingsley
  • Assassination Vacation, Sarah Vowell
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Greatest Migration, Isabelle Wilkerson
  • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed To Be, Marissa R. Moss
  • The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair
  • The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—And How It Changes Science, Cities, and the Modern World, Steven Johnson
  • A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams, Michael Pollan
  • Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life, Lulu Miller
  • Humankind: A Hopeful History, Rutger Bregman
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, David Grann
  • Fire Monks: Zen Mind Meets Wildfire, Colleen Morton Busch
  • Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line, Martha A. Sandweiss
  • Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble, Stefan Fatsis
  • Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans, Dan Baum
  • Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, Gilbert King
  • Wait Till Next Year, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • The Astronaut Wives Club, Lily Koppel
  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Mary Roach
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
  • Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World that Made Him, David Henry and Joe Henry